The BJP, which is part of the Jammu and Kashmir government, skipped the official martyrs’ day function at Mazar-e-Shoudha on Thursday to pay tribute to 21 people killed in 1931 by Dogra forces. Deputy CM Nirmal Singh said the alliance between PDP and BJP was only for governance and added that politically both parties stood committed to their respective ideologies. The BJP’s lone Muslim legislator from the Valley, Sofi Yusuf, said the party doesn’t believe in the occasion.
PDP leaders, including CM Mehbooba Mufti, paid tributes at Mazar-e-Shoudha in the old city. Leaders of other parties, too, were present. “People creating fear here should understand that the Kashmir society will not tolerate anything against its ethos. The mission of these martyrs was to strive for happiness and prosperity in Kashmir,” the CM said.
Asked why BJP leaders skipped the function, Singh replied, “Why should we go?…we are in a political system and though we do not challenge it, we stand committed to our respective ideologies. Ours is a governance alliance,” he said. BJP MLC Yusuf said, “As BJP workers, we salute martyrs who laid down their lives for the liberation of India, irrespective of whether they were Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, or others. We don’t believe in this (martyrs’ day) and neither would we.”
Asked about BJP skipping the function, a PDP leader said: “We can’t force them to attend. The agenda is for governance. It is not a political alliance.”
National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah slammed the BJP for skipping the function. Meanwhile, the Valley observed a shutdown to mark the day. The government had put curbs on civilian movement in the old city. The call for shutdown had been given by separatists.